Each year the Swiss Confederation awards the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to promote international exchange and research cooperation between Switzerland and over 180 other countries. Recipients are selected by the awarding body, the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS).

The Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships are aimed at young researchers from abroad who have completed a master’s degree or PhD and at foreign artists holding a bachelor’s degree.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

Course level: Doctoral, Postdoctoral, and Art degrees

Fields of study: Any discipline

Scholarship period: 12 months (starting in September); no prolongation possible. Grant applications for stays lasting less than 9 months will not be treated as a priority. Grant applications for stays lasting less than 6 months will be rejected.

Institution and country:

University of Basel / University of Bern / University of Fribourg / University of Geneva / University of Lausanne / University of Lucerne / University of Neuchâtel / University of St. Gallen / University of Zurich / Università della Svizzera italiana / Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) / Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) / Research Institutes of the ETH Domain (PSI; WSL; EMPA; EAWAG) / Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) / University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland / Bern University of Applied Sciences / University of Applied Sciences Northwest Switzerland / University of Applied Sciences Eastern Switzerland / Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts / University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland / The Zürcher Fachhochschule

Sponsor: Swiss government

Scholarship inclusions:

  • Full tuition fees
  • Monthly allowance of CHF 1,920
  • Health insurance
  • Roundtrip airfare between Switzerland and home country
  • One-time housing allowance of CHF 300
  • One-year half-fare public transportation card
  • Support services and various trips, dinners and sightseeing tours organized for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship holders

Please refer to the country-specific fact sheets for exact scholarship benefits.

Eligibility criteria for the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent university degree achieved before 31 July 2021 (degree certificate) recognized by the Swiss university.
  • No older than 35 years old.
  • Applicants who have been in Switzerland for more than one year at the beginning of the scholarship in September are not eligible.
  • Applicants must provide a letter from an academic host professor (including her/his short CV) at the chosen Swiss university confirming why she/he is willing to supervise and support the postdoctoral research. Without such support, the application will be rejected. Not accepted as academic supervisors for postdoctoral scholarship applicants are their former PhD mentors and their co-directors for the cotutelle PhD if the academic supervisor is at a Swiss university.
  • Applicants must have a research proposal including a timeframe. This is the centerpiece of the application. The applicant must devote all required attention to it.
  • Applicants must be in command of the necessary language skills required for postdoctoral research.
  • Applicants who have already benefited from a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship are not eligible to apply for a second scholarship.
  • Scholarship holders are expected to move to Switzerland during their grant period.

Application deadline: 26 October 2020

How to apply for the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships:

The application package can be obtained by email from the Swiss Embassy in your respective countries. Generally, they would require the following documents:

  • Signed FCS application form (typed and printed) with photo
  • A full CV with a list of academic publications, awards, etc.
  • A motivation letter (max. 2 pages)
  • A complete research proposal (max. 5 pages, signed), using exclusively the FCS research proposal form
  • A copy of the letter from an academic host professor (including her/his short CV) at the chosen Swiss university confirming why she/he is willing to supervise and support the postdoctoral research
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation from two different professors in the applicant’s field (use exclusively the FCS reference form)
  • Photocopies of certificates and grade sheets from previously attended universities/colleges and diplomas with grades, starting with the most recent. If not in English, French, Italian, or German with attested certified translations in English. Do not submit the original certificates
  • Signed medical certificate (use only the FCS health certificate form)
  • Two copies of the applicant’s passport (main page with personal data). Dual nationals add copies of both passports. Applicants already in Switzerland during the application procedure add a copy of the residence permit for Switzerland.

Hard copies of the above list of required documents are to be submitted to the Swiss Embassy in the applicant’s country of residence.

Other useful links: 

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships